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Gophers take a bite out of the Beavers with road sweep

Krissy Wendell had seven points on the weekend leading Minnesota past Bemidji State.

Minnesota’s third-ranked women’s hockey team posted two conference wins against Bemidji State over the weekend, evoking memories of the Gophers dominating play against the Beavers earlier this season.

But the most memorable moment for Minnesota came at 16:53 of the third period Sunday.

Junior forward Stacy Troumbly netted her first career collegiate goal in 94 games and her fourth career point.

“The highlight of the weekend was Stacy’s goal,” coach Laura Halldorson said. “It was great to see her hard work pay off. It meant a lot to her and a lot to the team.”

On the play, sophomore forward Krissy Wendell had the puck in the corner, and fed it to freshman forward Becky Wacker. Wacker’s shot was saved, but Troumbly was right on the doorstep to poke in the rebound.

“I was lying on my stomach when I scored, so I just rolled onto my back and my teammates jumped on top of me,” Troumbly said. “All my family was there so that made it even more special.”

Minnesota (19-2-1, 13-2-1) shut out Bemidji State (5-20-1, 3-15-0) 4-0 on Sunday, holding the Beavers to only 10 shots on goal while firing 27 attempts of its own.

The Gophers started out well, something missing from their 4-1 Saturday victory.

“We came out very strong,” Halldorson said. “The good start made the difference.”

Minnesota pressured Bemidji State heavily from the opening face off, using an aggressive forecheck to force mistakes by the Beavers.

Bemidji State only managed one shot on goal during the first period, the fewest allowed in the opening period by Minnesota all year.

The Gophers got on the board at 10:47 of the first period. Wendell played the puck ahead to Wacker at center ice. Wacker then sent the puck to junior forward Kelly Stephens cutting through the slot, and Stephens did the rest.

It was the fourth goal the line of Wendell, Wacker and Stephens scored on the weekend.

“Everybody was forechecking well, keeping the puck in deep,” Wendell said. “It was good to see us working well together.”

The Gophers netted their second goal at 15:43 of the second period when senior co-captain La Toya Clarke fed Wendell, who lit the lamp.

Minnesota added its third goal 2:11 later when Wendell notched her second of three assists, setting up Wacker for the goal.

Wendell tallied four points in the game, and seven on the weekend. She leads the Gophers with 44 points in 22 games played. Wendell now sits one tally short of the century mark for her career.

Not everything went off without a hitch for Minnesota, though. The Gophers were shut out on the power play, held scoreless by the Beavers on eight opportunities.

But Minnesota is not worried about the special teams, and is still adjusting to the new alignment.

“(Sunday) we moved the puck well,” Halldorson said. “We had some good opportunities and came close.”

The series sweep was critical for Minnesota, with some challenging games ahead.

“Anytime you can earn points, that’s really important,” Halldorson said. “These are four big points that we need after the loss last Sunday.”

Minnesota has a stiff nonconference test next weekend as top-ranked Dartmouth comes to Ridder Arena for a two-game set before playing host to No. 4 Wisconsin on Feb. 13-14.

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